Browsing the web is an awesome way to get work done, study, shop, stay in touch with friends or just have fun. But just how safe is it? In today’s blog, I don't want to discuss anyone’s browsing habits as everyone has differing opinions on what is right and wrong.
But what I will say is that if a person is browsing sites that might be deemed "undesirable", then that is a security risk as many of these sites are set up by people who want to exploit online users. These types of sites should never be opened in a work environment. But if we were to think about our layers, your computer or device is ground zero, or level 1. It's where it all begins. And, there are some easy tips and tricks that you can use to keep your browsing session safe. What are they? Let's jump in and see.
For the home or small business user, the first thing is awareness. That might sound boring, but have you ever stopped to look at where your web browser is taking you? Not sure what I mean? The world in which we live is technology crazy. Internet banking is so much quicker than standing in a queue. Next time you open your online banking, check the address line up the top. Does it show https or just plain old HTTP? If your online banking page is showing HTTP, you need to exit that page fast. That little "s" at the end stands for “secure” and to keep it very simple, it means that the computers agree on a "code" between them, and then they scramble the messages using that "code" so that no one in between can read them. This keeps your information safe from hackers. Hackers you say. Yep, we’ll talk about them in another blog.
Now it’s worth knowing that https isn't 100% secure – nothing is. Hackers have a way of downgrading some https pages so that they can steal your password information. And speaking of passwords – always use something random, and always make sure it’s more than 12 characters in length. Why? Well, that’s for another time, but it makes things much more secure. A secure password is the first step, followed by the habit of checking your details.
If you use Firefox, Chrome or Opera, there is a “browser extension” available for you. It’s called “https everywhere” and it makes your browser more secure. It’s free, and you can install it by googling https everywhere. So that begs the next question? Why didn’t I put in a link straight to the software?
Because in the digital age, you should never ever click on a link that you don’t trust. Whenever I send a link to the client, I send an email or have a phone conversation advising them that the link is coming. I give them strict instructions to contact me when the link arrives. Then I can check, and make sure they have the right link, taking them to the right place.
Why? Because hackers love to impersonate people that you might trust. You’re online, so how can you check to see if it's really me? And an uninformed person clicking bad links is what gives away around 75% of all access to hackers.
So, there we have a few little tips. Always check where your browser is taking you. Check for https. Think about https everywhere, and never ever click on an unverified link.
Let's talk about those links in that one in the next blog